The research conducted by the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization (E.L.P.O.) will examine practical and scientific theories and application protocol that assistant in the successful treatment of lameness & pathology in horses, as well as offer new guidelines for ultimately preventing lameness. Many of the theories and hoof care practices that are commonly taught and used in the hoof care industry today were developed several decades ago, and some even centuries in the past.
Although many practices and protocols are met with relative success, the rate of lameness incidents has steadily increased over the last several decades. It is becoming more apparent by many farriers and veterinarians that the change in role that horses play in human’s lives today is much different than it was a half century ago. The demands on horses, from their terrain, husbandry, and disciplines, offer new challenges when it comes to keeping horses sound and functioning pain free. Many of these new challenges have not been matched by some of the hoof care guidelines that are currently in place.
Small advancements in technology and a fraction of better understanding of the equine foot has begun to surface in the last decade that have offered hope to treating many common lameness issues. However, there is still much about equine foot function and the needs of the equine hoof that are unknown. We are in an age where we have the technology to look more closely at these topics and with several groups working at it from different approaches, we believe there is hope for not only developing better treatments but also for directing improved hoof care protocols. This will ultimately help prevent many lameness and pathology issues from occurring at all.
The Equine Lameness Prevention Organization has some of the most progressive and skilled hoof care providers and veterinarians involved to help develop, direct, conduct, and report on many scientific & practical research projects that will contribute to these goals of effective lameness treatment and lameness prevention. Several research projects have already been started by members of the organization. One of the largest group projects regarding the equine hoof was started by the organization in May of 2008. This project will be ongoing and carried out by a majority of the organization members. This project deals with the practical concept of locating internal anatomical structures using external hoof references. It should prove to offer some standardized guidelines for basic hoof distortion recognition, and in turn treatment approaches to common lameness and pathology issues. Because this project is conducted by hoof care providers all over the world, it will have widespread applicability, which is unlike any other hoof care related research project conducted in the past.